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Michigan confirms three cases of EEE in Mid-Michigan horses

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 7:54 AM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN, Mich. (WJRT) - The Michigan agriculture officials confirmed more cases of a dangerous mosquito-borne disease in Mid-Michigan horses.

Officials say three new cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis show that it’s important to continue taking precautions against bug bites this fall.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says three new cases of EEE were found in Mid-Michigan: one horse from Genesee County and two horses from Shiawassee County.

EEE is spread by infected mosquitoes often in the fall around Michigan. It has a 33% fatality rate in the rare cases where humans become ill.

Michigan has confirmed eight cases of EEE in animals so far this year, including one deer and seven horses. No human cases of EEE have been reported in the state.

“Michiganders need to continue taking precautions against mosquitoes as they take advantage of our current mild weather conditions and enjoy outdoor activities,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “People can also be infected with EEE from the bite of a mosquito carrying the virus, which can lead to serious health impacts and even death.”

The disease is a threat until there has been at least one hard freeze, when the temperatures fall below 28 degrees for several hours.

“Our current mild temperatures mean horse owners should not ease up on taking precautions, including vaccination. Since the mortality rate of EEE in horses can be as high as 90%, it is important for owners to work with their veterinarian to ensure their animals are properly vaccinated,” said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland.

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